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The Ronnie Mutch Equitation Classic Necessitated a Work Off of the Top Four

Wellington, FL – March 8, 2003 – The Ronnie Mutch Equitation Classic had 23 qualified riders competing – all the crème de la crème. Riders were scored by 2 Jumper Judges – Mark Leone and McLain Ward; and two Hunter Judges – Kip Rosenthal and Margie Hough. A score judged in the warm up area was added to each round. After the first courese, 10 riders were asked to return. They were to submit their own written course and then execute it. There was one rider who did not receive a score in the second round because she submitted and jumped 11 jumps when the specifications of the class asked each rider to submit a course of 8 – 10 jumps. After the second round, four riders were asked to return to the ring. At this time, only 8 points separated these four riders overall scores. The top four were Whitney Roper, Courtney McKay, Maggie McAlary and Sloan Coles.

In the ring, they were asked to switch horses with no outside assistance. Sloane Coles and Maggie McAlary switched horses and Courtney McKay switched with Whitney Roper. At this point they were asked to jump the first 8 jumps of the original course. No one was to leave the ring. Sloan Coles returned first as the one with the lowest score, followed by Maggie, Courtney and then Whitney. In the end, Whitney maintained the top position and took home the Championship. Courtney was Reserve Champion. Sloan Coles moved up from her work off to third place and Maggie was fourth.

Equitation trainer, Missy Clark, summed it all up well before the class when she was asked how do you prepare a student for this equitation classic? Missy said “Well, it’s what we have done all season that prepares them for today’s class. We were out at 6:30 this morning doing gymnastics and different strides in lines but it’s what you do all year that counts.”

Two 1.5 m Classics Today – McLain Ward Wins Both and Laura Kraut Second in Both

Today’s $20,000 1.5 m Classic saw 65 horses attempt the course with temperatures in the 90’s. In the jump-off of eleven horses, May with Laura Kraut riding for Pasmore Stables was second back in the order. This Swedish Warmblood mare and Laura sailed through the course in a smooth and fast time of 38.992 seconds. She held that lead until the very last horse in the jump-off. McLain Ward and Couletto K James were the last in the jump-off and proved to be the best in 37.571 seconds. McLain was also third place with Hurricane who is owned by Sarah B. Willeman and Turnabout Farm.

In the $10,000 Cosequin 1.5 m Classic, McLain Ward won with Sasha and Laura Kraut was again second riding Joyce 8. Sasha, a bay warmblood mare, is owned by Harry R. Gill and McLain Ward. Joyce 8 is owned by the Summit Partners.

Tickets to the Winter Equestrian Festival are available by phone at 793-JUMP or at the gate. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Children 12 & under are free all days. Senior admission is $5 every day. Adult admission is $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. Parking is free.

Winter Equestrian Festival Dates:

(Each week runs Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM daily)

Cosequin Wellington Finale – March 5 – 9
Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic – March 13 – 16

After March 9, competitors move to Tampa to continue the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Dates for Tampa Winter Equestrian Festival

(Each week of competition runs Wed - Sun beginning at 8:00 AM)

Suncoast Internationale March 13-16
Tampa Bay Classic March 19-23 CSI***/W
Tournament of Champions March 25-29 CSI**/W

Budweiser American Invitational March 29 in Raymond James Stadium

Tickets for Winter Equestrian Festival at Tampa Fairgrounds are Wednesday through Friday $5. Children under 12 years are free. Saturday and Sunday Adult tickets are $10. Seniors and Students are $5 all days. For schedule, directions and information visit

Tickets for the Budweiser American Invitational, March 29 at Raymond James Stadium are available at Ticket Master (813) 287-8844 or at Stadium Jumping (877) 909-9436.


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